Circumstances under which a sexual assault takes place and how these circumstances affect offenders’ reactions to victim resistance are not well understood. Previous studies have not thoroughly examined the interactions that take place between situational factors and resistance. Thus, through two studies, victim, situational, and crime characteristics of 426 sexual assaults were examined to determine their effects on offenders’ reactions to victim resistance, with the second study specifically examining the differences in cases with child victims compared to cases with adult victims. Findings suggest that violence is affected by both the attack strategy employed by the offender and the type of resistance by the victim, along with several other qualifying factors, and that differences do exist in how offenders react depending upon the victim’s age. The overall findings of both studies lend support to the social interactionist perspective and the importance of victim-offender dynamics.
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Thesis advisor: Beauregard, Eric
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